Lynn Canfield, Yellowlynn RIP
Lynn had sent me his autobiography and I think he would be honored to share it with all of his friends here. He was a very special man. It follows here :

Lynn's Bio


I was born 11 May, 1930 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was moved to Beloit, Wisconsin at the tender age of six weeks. At the age of three years, while my parents attended church services, I went out chasing a girl that was stupid enough to run out into the street. She must have been pretty, as I chased her and ended up on the losing end of a battle with a car. That was in the days when bumpers stuck way out in front of cars for protection. Anyway, I toppled over the bumper and landed on my head on the pavement. Later, at the age of four years, I started putting things into a memory bank, which even now I can recall from those deposits. At five years I started kindergarten, walking six to eight blocks to school and back again. Those times were different, for sure. Nowadays 5 year olds don't dare walk a block by themselves. There was a city playground two blocks away that I could go to at any time. The catch was: my siblings told me about kidnappers that had gunny sacks (tow sacks) with a ring round the opening so they could throw it over little kids and carry them off. I kept my eyes open for anybody that had a sack. It scared me so bad that I would walk blocks out of my way to keep from meeting someone on the street, going and coming from school. I would never go to that playground by myself. Now you understand why I swore that my girls would not fear, people or dogs.

At six years we moved to Shopiere, Wisconsin about eight miles from Beloit. It was a very small town, one store, a tavern and churches and a school. The school had two rooms, grades one through four, and five through eight, approximately 40 students to a room. Each teacher taught all subjects and all four grades. I believe I got an outstanding education. There were three valedictorians. All three of us had grades from one through eight considered, and ended up with an identical average. Never happened before, and probably never since.

There being no high school in Shopiere, I was bussed to Clinton High School, Clinton, Wisconsin some seven or eight miles away. That was my Freshman year. At the end of that year we moved into Beloit, where I started my sophomore year. In October or early November, we moved to Irma, Wisconsin, some 175-190 miles north. The Irma school went through the 10th grade so I was able to finish my sophomore year there.(a mile and a quarter walk to school each way). Kind of strange in a way. The 9th and 10th grades were in one room, and one teacher taught all subjects, both grades.

We lived 13 miles north of Merrill, but there was no school bus. I stayed in a shed behind a friend's house for several weeks starting my Junior year, but had to find other quarters or quit school. I answered an ad for a room at $8.00 per week. I worked setting pins in a bowling alley at 7 cents a line. By setting double lines, on league nights I could make $2.10 for a tough 4 hours. That was 30 line in 4 hours, which meant you were moving constantly. Since I was a student making my own way, I got the room for $4.00 a week. School lunches were $1.25 a week. That is the only time I remember of knowing what real hunger was, one meal a day, Monday thru Friday, then hitch-hike home on weekends. They ran buses in my senior year so I made out pretty good. I ate either a box of cereal or 12 pancakes for breakfast, took 12 sandwiches, a quart of milk, and fruit if available, for lunch, and ate everything put in front of me at night. I guess that would be classified as feeding a growing boy.


I graduated the last of May, 1948. In July, I was putting up fence with my uncle, when the Air Force recruiter came to visit. On 12 July, four of us, Sam Murry, Eldon Grisa and Jack (?) left for Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. After basic training, I was sent clear across the city to Randolph AFB, Texas. There I trained to be a Link trainer instructor. That means I taught cadets and student officers how to fly by instruments. It was a great job, and I enjoyed it.

February 16, 1951, I made S/SGT, 2 years and 7 months in the Air Force. Nobody now knows what you are talking about when you say "Brown Shoe Air Force." It was about that time they started changing over from khakis and brown to the new blue uniform. Took 31 months to go from E-1 to E-5. Little did I know that it was going to be 16 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day to go from E-5 to E-6.

While stationed there I ended up with a blind date. When we went to pick her up she was standing by the driveway, barefooted, shoes in hand. I wondered why a beauty like that would need a blind date. She wouldn't go that night, and when I questioned her later I found out she had a date with another guy. I reckon she wanted a look-see at me before committing to a date. However, I got even. I courted, wooed, and married her, and she has been paying for it ever since.

In October, 1951 I was transferred to Wichita AFB in Kansas. There was really no base there, just tents. It got mighty cold in November. The mess tent served all food at boiling temperatures so that by the time you sat down to eat it was still a warm eating temperature. Showers were something else. A stove was kept real hot to help while drying. Use pure hot water, and by the time it reached the body it felt decently warm. I wish I could say that was exaggerated, but it was for real.

In late November we had barracks, nice, warm, cozy barracks, totally surrounded by mud. There I stayed until late May when I left for Seguin, and on June 1, 1952 I married that pretty little barefoot southern gal.Our honeymoon consisted of traveling to Wichita, Kansas to a basement apartment. Our landlord was a plumber and I was able to work for him part-time so we could keep our heads above water.

During that summer, they tried to get squadron softball started on the base. That turned into a flop, but enough of us on the base formed our own team. A captain was the coach, and got us into the city league in Wichita. (fast pitch) Of all the teams, 2 were by far the best: Boeing, and Nine Old Men. All told, we were the ONLY team that ever beat Boeing. Kind of proud, and would like to brag, but I batted .687, didn't keep track of RBIs. I did knock in the winning run that beat Boeing.

On June 16, 1953 Valerie made an appearance on the scene while we lived there. Later, we moved into a housing project, a bunch of single level triplexes, and then August 12, 1954 Bonnie made her way into the world.

Sometime during that time they changed the name from Wichita AFB to McConnell AFB.

From there we went to Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Illinois. Housing was extremely scarce so we ended up buying a 35 foot 8 wide mobile home (house trailer as they were known back then). I attended electronics school to learn maintenance on aircraft simulators. I graduated with honors, BUT, everything taught was theory, and I could not tell one end of a wire from another.

Went to Offut AFB, Omaha, Nebraska. I detested electronics, so I felt extremely fortunate in that after five months there I was offered the opportunity to attend air traffic control school at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi. That was a different climate from anything I had ever seen, warm weather in November and December, Spanish Moss on trees, gulf coast and bayous, and always quite humid. There I got shone up, though. Two guys beat me out of the top of the class, but I learned a lot, especially that I believed I would really enjoy this career field.

From Biloxi we went to El Paso, Texas, to the Air Route Traffic Control Center at the airport.

Wore civvies, and worked with the federal employees, getting on-the-job-training. There were six of us military there, and I know they hated to see us leave because they were short-handed and we really got them out of a bind for the year we were there. While there, Jonnie attended Beauticians School in El Paso, and got her license.

My delightful assignment from there was to Thule AFB, Greenland. That was an experience I will not get into here. It would take pages and pages to cover it all, some sickening, and some uproariously funny. Jonnie and the girls stayed in San Antonio while I was gone. Valerie went to kindergarten while there. Jonnie had a job at Perkins Beauty Salon while I was gone.

From Thule, I got a beautiful assignment to Turner AFB, Albany, Georgia. That was where Valerie and Bonnie started going to 'big' school. We traded the 35 foot trailer for a humongous 10 wide 60 footer. Had so much room we did not know what to do. Eventually we traded that trailer for furniture and moved into base housing. That was BIG TIME mistake. Only a couple months of that and we found a real, honest to goodness house to buy. We were overwhelmed by being in debt for 30 years. Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance made the payments a whopping $64.00 a month. Somehow we managed. We stayed there for several years, tho I had several transfers. The first to Eglin AFB, FL. then to Hunter AFB, Savannah, Ga, both of which places I was able to drive to Albany on weekends.

Then joy of joys. Turner was so short of controllers I got transferred back to Albany. I was picked because I was still certified there. At Eglin and Savannah my NCOIC was an E-9, CMSGT who had less time in service than I had in grade as SSGT. For some reason he detested me and he wouldn't show me the performance reports he wrote. They were worse than low....I'll just drop it there.

At Turner, after a month or so, the commander called me in and showed me the report. I had several aircraft saves, and was a good controller. He wanted to help me, and the first shirt led the way. I wrote a rebuttal, the old man gave me an exceptional rating. The next cycle I made tech, E-6. My old NCOIC heard about it and nearly exploded. There was a funny moment about that,tho. The C.O. called me at work (in the control tower) and asked me how would I like to be T/Sgt. I told him that subject was not funny. He laughed and said it was effective immediately. I bought some stipes, went home, and told Jonnie I had a job for her. She was brushing her hair at the time and said "What?" I held up the stripes and said "Sew on these". It took us 15 minutes to find where that hair brush landed.

Shortly after that, Oct 66, I was transferred to Dreau AFB in France. They had made a mistake on my orders, as I was SUPPOSED to be sent to Spain in the first place. That is when they were kicking the US out of France. A friend of mine, single, but living off-base, got in a hassle with his landlady. She claimed he pushed her and took him to (French) court. She claimed she fell from his push, and weeks later she showed up in court in an ambulance. She was a well known 'Madam', and the judges had to cover their faces, snickering, doing their best not to laugh out loud. It was really funny. She really put on a performance. He prevailed, but had to get out of France, FAST. This was before Christmas. His car was a '61 Tbird. A "friend" of his borrowed it and crushed the oil pan and ruined the oil pump. A guy from the motor pool, another guy (who ended up riding with me to Spain), and me worked all night and got it fixed and running, using parts from the base junkyard. There probably wasn't over a hundred guys left on the base at this time. My NCOIC, an E-8, had Hemerhoid surgery in Paris, and couldn't travel before January 3. Another guy and us stayed there till he could travel, so with him and his wife, 3 cars convoyed to Spain with an overnite stop in Madrid. I was happy to get out of France. They are so dumpy and unfriendly.

I really enjoyed it in Spain. The people were very friendly, not like the French. There was a little town about 2 miles from the base. A buddy and I went there, saw this place on the corner with a sign BAR BARERRA, and thought we'd get a Coke. I spoke enough Spanish, and with hand talk we conversed quite well. That struck up a lasting friendship for over the year that I had left.

They needed to send 2 guys to Wheelus AFB, Tripoli, Libya for a 60 day TDY. Most the guys were married and accompanied, so I volunteered. That sure was a filthy, dirty, dusty place, but no problem. Had an E-8 NCOIC, and he came to the barracks one day and asked if I'd cover the mid shift so he wouldn't have to fill in. I said "no, I couldn't". When he asked why, I told him I wasn't signed off on my rating yet. In 30 seconds I had my card signed. I sure got along great at Wheelus. The other guy, a 3 striper (buck sgt) and I went to the BX and found 2 bikes that were new, but broken. We got them for $5 each, spent 75 cents to fix them, and had transportation for our 60 day TDY.

When the time got close to retirement, I had to go to Torrejon AFB, at Madrid for my retirement physical. I had a broken cartilege in my right knee. No big deal; football players had them all the time and were back playing in 6 weeks. Doc screwed up and I ended up with a staph infection. That meant they had to reopen the surgery and let it heal from the inside out. Ten weeks later I had gone from 152# to 120# when the hospital discharged me.

Things are so funny in the military. So some weeks after I got out of the hospital, that doctor had to visit Moron AFB, and while there had to check my knee. He was a little doubtful that it was healed good, but I told him there was a 45 day TDY to Wheelus, he was convinced I wanted out of it. It took some explaining, but he finally realized I was wanting to go, same reason as before, and I was still rated there. He thought I was nuts.

It would take pages to tell all the adventures. Many Spaniards play chess, and I was watching a game in the bar, when they asked if I played. When I said yes, things got exciting. EL CAMPION was the chess champion, and he was GOOD in capitals. I told him one day, ONE DAY, I would beat him. "Never, never". Out of several hundred games, I did. Once! If a game was going on when I got there, he would clean the board and tell the other guy to get up. I guess I was better, and gave him more of a challenge than the locals.

Then it came time to retire, and that is where the fun began. All papers went thru OK, but no orders were issued. All I recieved was a TWX. I don't know what the letters stand for, but it was like the size and printed like a telegram. I guess you have to be militarily minded to understand all the red tape trying to clear a base, especially, and not only an overseas base, but to ship a car stateside, and for retirement too. It was hilarious at times, because every place cleared needs 2 copies of your orders. All I had was 1 copy of the TWX. I would let them Xerox it, but it never left my sight. But, I made it. Jonnie had flown up to meet me at Dover AFB. It was nice for her to see the retirement ceremony. The actual retirement date was 1August, 1968. We drove from there to Janesville, Wisconsin to visit my parents and 2 sisters that lived there.

Then we headed for our home in Seguin, Texas, and when we passed thru Ft. Worth I stopped and called the main FAA office in Texas to check on their hiring. It would be several months before I would be notified to test for placement.

With no orders, I had to send all my personal stuff home via the post office. With golf clubs and stuff like that, it ended up costing many pennies. The middle of August (over 2 weeks after my official retirement) I finally got my transfer and retirement orders. I took them, my mail receipts, and all else to the finance office at Randolph. They had never run into a case like this before, but in the end, I got reimbursed all shipping costs. No arguments, but a lot of head scratching.

In the meantime, I got a job with Aetna Finance tracing deadbeats and "skippers". That is not really my type of job, (especially at $400 a month before deductions), but till I heard from FAA, it would suffice. The office was in Houston, so I would room and board during the week and drive to Seguin on weekends. That lasted for a few weeks and I decided "no way". I wanted to be with my family. Rather than lose me, they transferred me to an office in north San Antonio. While there, I got the notice to go to Austin to take an FAA test. A few days later the office got a new man putting us one over, so someone had to transfer to Austin. From Seguin, that wasn't a whole lot further for me, so I volunteered to go. I was hoping I would get a call. SOON!!! After a few weeks, I did, and kissed that job goodbye. All this was less than 3 months, mid August to November 2 when I was hired by FAA.

Went to FAA Air Traffic Control school in Oklahoma City for 6 weeks. I wanted this job BAD, so even tho I had years of it in the Air Force, this was a little bit different. I went on the assumption I knew nothing, and studied from scratch. It worked in my favor. I started as GS-6, and 2 1/2 years later I made GS-13 as full qualified radar controller. That averaged out as $10,000 a year pay raise for the 2 1/2 years.. Raises didn't come very fast after that. I burned a lot of midnite oil, but that was OK. I loved the job. Jonnie sure helped a lot, going over and over all I had to memorize. The Houston Air Traffic control center covered the area from between Mobile and Pensacola,on a line west north of Jackson MS, North of Alexandia, LA, north of Lufkin, Tx, just south of Waco, then curved south to Mexico, east in the gulf to a point south of Mobile, and up to the starting point. Memory was unbelievable. All cities had intersections of airways between them. We had to know mileage between each and every one in the entire area. That was only a starter. Designators for cities and intersections was several hundred. ACT(Waco) SAT(San Antonio) HOU(Houston, and IAH-Houston interconinental) NEW(New Orleans) NON(Navy New Orleans) and so on. Then Austin, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans all had 8-12 radio frequencies, plus at least 2 for each adjoining centers. That boiled down to a huge pile of numbers that had to be spit out perfectly at a moments notice. It sounds like I'm telling how good or how smart I was, but it comes down to one thing; Only my Lord could give me the mentality, or capability to do it. To Him goes all the praise.

I loved the job. There was one guy in particular on our crew that I couldn't tolerate; he was dangerous. I pulled his butt out of the fire several times, and that is what gave me a bleeding ulcer, and mandatory retirement.

We had purchased 12 1/2 acres near Seguin, so we had a house built. It was while we lived there that my father, Royal Canfield passed away. We lived there about 2 1/2 years. While here, in April, 1978, we drove to Wisconsin to visit my parents as Roy was in the hospital. I'll try to make a long story as short as I can. Pop was to be discharged the next day. We told the doctor he was not fit to be outed. The doc agreed, he was too sick to go home and too well to be hospitalized. There were 2 decent old folks homes around, one quite expensive (and not really good care), and Rock Haven , the county home which was GREAT. It had a year and a half waiting period to get in. That night we had prayer, and placed EVERYTHING in Gods hands. NOW the fun begins. Next morning we talked to the head administrator, and it ended up he couldn't be admitted till Friday. (This was Tuesday) ??????????? And Mom wouldn't be able for 2 weeks. ???????????? We Had to see Medicaid, which meets every other Tuesday, and appointments are made 6 weeks in advance. We called, told our situation, being from Texas, and was told to come in at 2:00PM. ??????????? My sister had been there before, and Pops WWl pension put them just a couple dollars over max. After talking to her, she said "Just let me know when they are admitted". ????????????

We left for Texas the next day, and while traveling, I got to thinking. I have always wanted to be on the winning team since I was a kid. It was at that point that I realized that "ciy hall" doesn't stand a chance when God is there. On an interstate back to Texas, at 47 years old, that I totally surrendered my life to Christ. I wasted 47 years, but the Love, Peace, and Contentment now is great beyond any words.

Then unforseen circumstances came up. We sold out and moved to Anniston, AL. We had friends there that we met in El Paso. Their church went on mission trips every year to build churches, so that was right up my alley. There are too many experiences to tell that I wouldn't even be able to start. One thing, 183 of us went to Jackson, Ohio, including our own cooks and all. When we got there, we had a slab and piles of materials. We had to build our own trusses, and the sanctuary had a Pitched ceiling. That church, 10,100 sq ft, was erected, plumbed, wired, sheetrocked, and bricked in 5 1/2 days. Taping, floating, and interior trim and paint was all we didn't have time to do. We had a large tent for dining, and Monday morning it was pouring rain, heavy and steady. What a muddy mess. There were 4 pastors with us, so they took turns praying for the rain to stop. The last one must have had a direct line, because his prayer was a PRAYER. A minute or so went by, and he said we either have faith or we don't. It was about 100' from the tent to the slab, and by the time the first foot hit that cemen, not another drop fell, and the ground was dry by noon. That is just one story, and there are hundreds like it I could tell.


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